A bottle of the oldest single malt yet bottled – an 80-year-old whisky from The Glenlivet distillery – has been auctioned for a record HK$1.5m (US$193,000) by Sotheby’s in Hong Kong.
The first of 250 decanters of Gordon & MacPhail Generations 80 Year Old from Glenlivet Distillery attracted bidders from across Asia and Europe, with a European private collector submitting the winning bid for the whisky.
The whisky was filled into cask on 3 February 1940 by George Urquhart and his father John, members of the family that still owns Elgin-based independent bottler Gordon & MacPhail, and was bottled on 5 February 2020 at a strength of 44.9% abv.
The auction lot included the decanter and oak case designed by architect and designer Sir David Adjaye OBE, plus a whisky tasting experience for four people in London, the framed head of the cask that matured the whisky and a unique signed lithograph of Sir David’s original concept drawings.
‘From the moment news broke of the existence of a whisky matured in oak for 80 years, it generated a huge buzz of excitement,’ said Jonny Fowle, Sotheby’s spirits specialist.
‘For those lucky enough to taste it, myself included, this is an exceptional whisky that not only lingers on the palate, but also long after in the mind. As we have seen, exceedingly rare single malts are highly coveted, and when collectors are presented with something truly special, they are prepared to go the extra mile.’
Proceeds from the sale, minus costs, will go to charity Trees for Life, which has a mission to rewild the Caledonian forest.
The auction price was a record for a bottle of the world’s oldest whisky. Gordon & MacPhail has now released the other 249 decanters with a recommended retail price of £80,000 each.